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Environment / Climate change

We challenge you to look at all these leaning buildings without feeling a little sick

We’ve all heard of the leaning tower of Pisa. But around the world there are actually loads of buildings which, either intentionally or not, list to one side while still being  at least functionally  architecturally sound. 

This is all very impressive, but looking at them also makes us feel a bit, well, weird. 

There’s the leaning tower of Suurhusen, which, until recently, held the Guiness World Record for “most leaning building” (it beats Pisa by 1.22 degrees), though its recently been overtaken by another building that we’ll come to: 

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Image: Axel Heymann at Wikimedia Commons.

The tower was built on wood foundations (not a great idea) on marshland (even worse idea), and the wood rotted when the ground was drained in the 19th century, creating the jaunty tilt we see today. Wouldn’t fancy being nearby in an earthquake. 

The Puerta de Europa office towers in Madrid are at least symmetrical, and intentionally tilting. They were the first inclined skyscrapers in the world to be built when they were constructed in the late 80s and 90s:

Image: Chris Yunker via Flickr.  

The Capital Gate Building in Abu Dhabi, currently the world’s most leaning building, only maintains its extreme 18 degree tilt through the almost 500 piles drilled 20-30 metres underground below it. It houses a hotel and office space, and the floors themselves are still level: 

Image: FritzDaCat at Wikimedia Commons. 

Mostly, though, leaning buildings are unintentional. The San Marino church in Burano, Italy, is definitely leaning by accident: 

Image: Didier Descouens at Wikimedia Commons.

As is the spire of the Church of St Mary and All Saints, Derbyshire:

Image: public domain.

And an honourable mention goes to the sadly never built leaning tower of Pizza building, planned as Domino’s offices (yep, really) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was never completed, but this 50-foot scale model still stands at the site as a testament to what could have been the biggest pun ever built: 


Image: Mgordonb.

Might need a little sit down now.
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